DEAR AMY: Once a week a group of my friends gathers at one of our houses for dessert and to watch a popular television show. I hosted last week, and I had a glass of wine prior to people showing up.
I have a 1930s house and an old-style TV, whereas everyone else is in a new house with the biggest and best of everything. A friend’s husband and I got onto the topic of old houses. It was not a friendly conversation. Frankly, I was buzzed. I can have a short temper, and I was seething during the conversation.
We managed to make it to the end of the show, but this friend’s wife made a disparaging remark about me being drunk. I blew it out of proportion. I caught another close friend looking at me like “... who are you?”
Since this incident I have called both friends to see if they would talk this out. I don’t drink daily or even weekly, but I did come from a house full of alcoholics. Mom could get verbally nasty when she drank. Is that where I get my temper? You read about people with Irish tempers throwing plates at each other (I’m Irish) — is it genetic or learned behavior? What should I do? -- Guilty
DEAR GUILTY: Your behavior on this night, which you describe so honestly, is not specific to a particular ethnicity or culture. It’s the booze talking, and this type of drunken rage is as common in a John Cheever story as it is in a Frank McCourt memoir.
These close friends are telling you that your drinking is a problem. You must believe them — and admit it to yourself. It doesn’t matter how often or how much you drink; your relationships are suffering, so you need to stop.
Because you have alcoholism in your family, you should not drink at all. You could pursue recovery, get information and find support through Alcoholics Anonymous. Go to aa.org to find a local meeting.
DEAR AMY: What’s the harm in having a secret platonic friend of the opposite sex?
My friend came back into my life a year ago following a tragedy, and we talk at least once a week. Talking with her produces a new level of comfort, understanding and self-esteem. However, I haven’t disclosed any of this communication to my wife. On the one hand I feel so guilty, but on the other hand I see little harm.
I can’t bear the thought of ending this relationship, and I’m afraid my wife will insist I terminate it if I confess. My friend’s partner is also unaware of my existence.
In my heart I know this has developed into an underground relationship, which can’t continue in its present state. Though I haven’t lied to my wife, I feel I have woven a web of deceit. Is this wrong as long as it’s platonic? -- Worried Husband
DEAR HUSBAND: One aspect of your secret relationship is that you are sharing intimacies and emotions with your friend that you could (or should) be sharing with your life partner. Imagine how lonely she might feel, losing you in this way during a time when she might need you the most.
This relationship is wrong because it feels wrong. There is no difference between weaving a “web of deceit” and outright lying. A professional therapist could help you and your wife deal with the tragedy you’ve suffered, sort through your feelings and restore the intimacy you should share. Your secret friendship may have helped you heal during a tough time, but your “special friend” has no healthy role to play in your marriage.
DEAR AMY: “Furious Teen” didn’t know how to react to a teacher who demeaned and bullied her. I can still remember my seventh-grade homeroom teacher, who I now realize was a genuine bully. I wish I had gone to my parents about this because I think they might have done something about it. -- Still Furious
DEAR FURIOUS: I’ve heard from many readers with long-standing memories of teacher-bullies. I hope that current awareness is helping bullied kids to find their voice.
Distributed by Tribune Media Services